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The infamous word that begins with C and ends with –OLLEGE is inescapable. It has been looming all year. When I returned from spring break, my mailbox was flooded with envelopes branded with college insignias, so flooded that our neighbors even had to empty it for us. It was like Christmas all over again as I sorted my mail into piles: St. Olaf on the left, Macalester in the middle, Bryn Mawr on my left, and uh-oh, the dreaded thin envelope, the one that everyone fears. I sloppily tear the envelope open, ripping right though the purple text reading Kenyon. Waitlisted. I shrug. That’s okay, and I toss the envelope behind me. I have learned that dwelling on a rejection takes away from the time that I could be celebrating an acceptance. (I also reassure myself that I never even wanted to go to Kenyon anyway).
Most people say that waiting is the hardest part, but actually having to make a decision is worse. Soon after the acceptance letters arrived, I found myself inundated with letters, testimonials, and preview days all similarly telling me why I should come to college X.
“Well, you went to the Bryn Mawr day last year,” my dad said, scrolling down on the website.
“Yeah, but that was a year ago.”
“No, she should really visit Macalester,” my mom chimed in.
“But I’ve been there so many times!” (Practically everyone on my mom’s side of the family has gone there.)
“You’ve never been to a French class there ,and you already went to one at St. Olaf and Bryn Mawr. And we could drive there.” Ah, the best part, we could drive there and avoid the hassle of airports and save money! So that decided it, my dad and I would make the long trek up to the Twin Cities for Macalester’s preview day on April 12th. To tell the truth my dad seemed more excited than me.
“I don’t want to have to miss a lot of school.”
“It will only be two days. I need to sign you up before it fills up.”
“Fine,” I said. He busily went to his computer, began his hunt and peck method of typing, and drafted numerous emails to the volleyball coach, admissions, and the head of the French department wanting to set up meetings and class visits.
Even though I’ve grown up constantly hearing about Macalester, I have really only been an outside observer. I suppose that when I return from my visit to Macalester I will have a pretty good sense of the school and whether or not I “fit in.”
Each school, Macalester, Bryn Mawr, and St. Olaf has its unique qualities and strengths. They are all strong in French, which I hope to major in, and I would be able to play on the volleyball team. I feel as though each week my opinion is swayed from one college to another. One week I was certain that Bryn Mawr was where I definitely wanted to go. But then, my admissions counselor from St. Olaf called and I thought, well, maybe I really want to go to St. Olaf. At this point in time, all I can truly say is that each school is a wonderful option. I am positive that no matter where I choose to go to school, I will be happy.
Who would have known that such a tiny word could have a life altering impact.
Guest author Cora Trout